I STRONGLY Disagree – Leadership and Lacrosse

Part of my decision to start a lacrosse club in Minnesota was that I felt called to empower young women to be themselves and love who they are, and love others. There is a lack of love in this world, and specifically a lack of female to female support and kindness. I know I can influence that by how I live my life on a daily basis. I know that I can encourage that in others, and that coaching happens to be my platform for my message.

As my club grew, the message seemed to shrink. Girls and families flocked to the superior training – something that they can visibly see in friends on their community teams who have improved so quickly. “How did you do it?” “True….” and so they came. While finding growth and success in the club world is fun – TRUE MINNESOTA GIRLS is now ranked in the top 100 programs in the country – something else started to happen. Girls were all of the sudden “good enough” or “too good” for their team selection.

***We interrupt this programming to bring you this PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT***

IF YOU HAVE ASPIRATIONS TO PLAY IN COLLEGE – you are never “good enough” or “too good” for anything.

***This concludes our PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. Thank you.***

(Feeling like that could be 7 separate posts for later days)

This year, my Directors – love them dearly, so proud – started this wonderful program on Tuesdays; they have leadership calls, open to the entire program. Each week, they tackle a new topic like what it means to be a leader, practicing gratitude, creating a sense of belonging, etc. Following the call, the girls receive a bit of homework. They have two weeks to complete the assignment, and so far they have been; interview someone in a position of leadership, could be a parent or a family member in order to learn what they need to do on a daily basis as a leader, write a thank you note to either a teacher or a frontline worker that has helped you during this pandemic. Each assignment should take no more than 10-15 minutes. Now, I understand school is difficult for a lot of students right now, and distance learning is something that is suited for a smaller margin of students than those currently being forced into it. I understand all of that, but I need to draw a line, and I need to put this message out into the universe.

I recently had a concerned parent reach out and tell me that what my coaches are running has nothing to do with lacrosse and we are a lacrosse club, so we should stick to what we know.


They continued on saying that their daughter had enough homework and we should no longer be expecting any participation from their child.

The message we are sending your daughter is one of self-efficacy and courage in the face of adversity. To self advocate, to lead positively in all areas of life, and to leave a legacy on and off the field. If this doesn’t have enough to do with lacrosse for you, fine. Here is your daughter’s homework – go run, workout, get on the wall, get to practice, be present, thank the coaches, respect your leaders, encourage your teammates and LOVE the journey. Goals are great, but don’t lose sight of all the things that have to happen along the way, and soak up every bit of it because it makes you who you are.

**As I am writing this, two of my former athletes – now together at their D1 program – had to FaceTime me. They were putting on their uniforms for the first time, and couldn’t wait to show me how cool they looked. Both girls were committed to their journey and can’t wait to come back and coach young girls to commit to their own. That’s my legacy. That’s my program. Leadership training has everything to do with your daughter’s success in life, and that’s what we do here.

What does it mean to be a True Girl?

Recent events have me thinking about what makes this program so special, and trying to put into words the culture we have here. Part of it is our staff, but a large part is the type of player we attract, and accept into the program. In such a turbulent time, I want every True player across the country to know how much they are loved, appreciated, and that they have any number of people that they could reach out to if they ever needed anything.

Without further ado, here is a list of a few traits that make a True girl special and set her apart from the rest. We look for these in players. Compare yourself to the following list – you may not be strong in every area, but we work to foster each of these in you and will remain doing so as long as you wish to work on them.

True Girl is STRONG hearted.

There will be off days. There will be setbacks. There may even be coaches that aren’t a great fit for you along the way – be it in youth, in high school, in college – but don’t let anyone take your passion for the sport. It’s something you love doing – we’re the same way – but it’s not always smooth sailing. How you get back up after getting knocked down makes you the player you are, makes your team what it is, and makes us the program we are.

True Girl is PATIENT & KIND to her teammates.

We’ve all been new at something, and we all remember how scary it was. Encouraging your teammate when she drops a pass in practice, versus rolling your eyes, will go a long way to giving her the courage to continue working. Before you know it, your whole team is better, you’re all closer friends, and you’re winning championships. A little effort goes a long way. Never judge a teammate by what club she came from or what school she goes to; all you need to know is that now you are teammates, and you have each other’s backs on and off the field.

True Girl is BRAVE in the face of uncertainty.

Tryouts are scary; team placement is sometimes even worse. Regardless of where you land, you owe it to yourself and your teammates to practice and play your hardest as that is the best way to find success. If you leave everything on the field, you cannot be disappointed by the outcome. On any given day a team can win or lose. A loss because of a lack of skill or execution can be fixed; a loss because of lack of heart or grit is harder to deal with. Each one of you needs to be brave, which can also inspire your teammates, and change the outcome of the game. A fear of failure will keep you from finding success.

True Girl is HUMBLE on and off the field.

Put your team first. Demonstrate to your coaches, directors, and college coaches alike why you were chosen to be on this team by making selfless decisions with the ball, with your positive attitude, and with your non-stop work ethic. You do not score goals for glory, but for success of your team, and you make the right play regardless of who actually scores the goal. If your parents ever say they’ll pay you for every goal you score, ask them instead to celebrate every interception, every contested groundball that you come up with, every little team victory, because that is what being part of a team is all about.

True Girl is RELENTLESS in striving for her goals.

You don’t let anything stand in your way – you find other ways to prevail. Your season got canceled – you ran, you trained, you worked. You came to True because you knew we would train you – it has always been our promise to you. It is your job to be willing to accept the coaching and develop skills that you wouldn’t learn otherwise. We will push you to be better, but you are the driving force and your trajectory in the sport is only capped by your willingness to work.

True Girl is SMART about the decisions she makes, and is RESPONSIBLE for herself.

MISTAKES and DECISIONS are two very different things. To put it in terms of the game; dropping a pass is a mistake. Choosing to not chase after the girl that picked up your missed pass is a decision. True girls accept the consequences of their decisions. Don’t post crude pictures or hateful things on your social media accounts – you will regret it later. See this article for an example of a consequence: Marquette Player Loses Scholarship

Recognize that you are almost always on display. Not only do you represent True, but you represent YOU! Take pride in your identity. How do you treat others in public? Are you aware of your surroundings? How do you behave around your parents versus your friends? Treat every teammate/official/competitor/coach/spectator/parent/person with respect. Colleges are looking for the whole package, and posting hateful or spiteful things online is a great way to prove you’re not it.

Make sure you research what you repost – if you repost it, you’re willing to stand by whatever it is that post says. This being the season of virtual recruiting, know that coaches are watching your accounts.

Social media DOs:

  • Post pictures of family, friends, pets, and hobbies
  • Share that dad joke that made you laugh 
  • Make a separate lacrosse recruiting account for videos and highlights
  • Use your social media audience to affect change for the better
  • Be genuine

Social media DON’Ts:

  • Affiliate with groups that exclude others based on race/ethnicity/gender/orientation/etc
  • Repost something that you don’t understand
  • Repost something that has an unclear origin
  • Post middle fingers, offensive, or provocative photos
  • Exclude teammates from your photos

We live in this place where we are given certain freedoms – speech being one of them. Know what you’re saying before you say it, understand the implications behind what you say, and know that depending on what it is, it may have an adverse affect on your future.

We as your coaches, directors, and confidants want the best for you all. We see you as these strong, resilient, brave young women and know that together we can do so much more than as individuals. Be good to each other. 

Krista Crandall